As you start to build and enhance the skills of your employees, you’ll likely use various methods to reinforce progress. Besides online training, one-on-one feedback, and hands-on training, you should utilize the benefits of skills coaching.
What is coaching in the workplace? There are two main reasons for workplace coaching:
- addressing performance issues in underperforming employees and
- bolstering your top producers’ skills.
But, what is coaching meant to accomplish, really? By offering targeted and timely coaching, you can help underperforming employees pull out of a slump and become more productive. And by giving some attention to your top achievers, you can drastically improve their performance and create benefits across your organization.
Coaching often consists of a direct supervisor or manager offering insights, feedback, best practices, and guidance to help employees excel in their day-to-day tasks. Good coaching will reinforce good behaviors and gently eradicate negative ones. Coaching should focus on constructive ways to empower the employee to do better, and a savvy manager will know how to help the employee remove obstacles from their path.
Coaching vs. Mentoring
Coaching and mentoring may seem like the same thing, but they should be very different in practice. Coaching is a more standardized and company or team-wide practice while mentoring focuses more on passing on specific knowledge to a particular individual. That’s why having a good skills coaching definition is necessary before your team or organization moves forward. So, how can you tell the difference? You can define coaching vs. mentoring and tell them apart using a few key features.
Mentoring often has a specific goal in mind, such as training someone to take on a particular role. A senior executive will often mentor a mid-level teammate to take over their position when moving upward or retiring. Mentoring often focuses on the gained experience of the mentor and doesn’t typically apply to the organization as a whole.
Coaching tends to encompass broader skills that can benefit everyone in a given role. A coach focuses on ways to help every employee develop their skills, address weak areas, and excel even further wherever they show promise. A coach may interact with employees in groups or one-on-one, but it’s not limited to an employee or two. Coaching encompasses an entire team or department.
A mentor often prepares someone for a role or focuses on nurturing a single individual. Mentoring may be more career-oriented and less concerned with short-term goals or performance. Mentorship can last months or even years, and a person does not usually have specialized training when they begin mentorship.
Coaching often has a more defined goal. Coaches can have specialized training that gives them a greater ability to teach others vital workplace skills. Coaching is more goal-oriented (event-based), cyclic (yearly training), or remedial (corrective training for certain behaviors).
Mentoring and coaching have different purposes even though they can look very similar. They are both supposed to help employees improve their daily functions, add new skills, sharpen existing ones, and even gain more confidence
Mentoring has a broad purpose that can change over time. Coaching should have defined mini-goals, even when there is an overarching theme. Coaching sessions should address specific problems, offer targeted feedback, and be implemented with consistency.
The Benefits of Skills Coaching
Consider this—over 75% of employees want coaching in the workplace. And, when revenue leaders deliver personalized coaching to each and every one of their reps, their team sees amazing results including:
- Increased productivity
- Higher employee engagement
- Improved retention
- Increases in sales
- Better closed-won rates
Want to learn more about the benefits that come with delivering personalized skills coaching? Take a look at our newest ebook, Next-Level Coaching, to see why the success of revenue teams depends on great coaching.